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Do Private Equity Fund Managers Earn Their Fees? Compensation, Ownership, and Cash Flow Performance

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  • Robinson, David T.

    (Duke University)

  • Sensoy, Berk A.

    (OH State University)

Abstract

Using a new database of the compensation terms, ownership structures (capital commitments), and quarterly cash flows for a large sample of buyout and venture capital private equity funds from 1984-2010, we investigate the determinants of manager compensation and ownership and how these contract terms relate to the funds' cash flow performance. Market conditions during fundraising are an important driver of compensation, as pay rises and shifts to fixed components during fundraising booms. We find no evidence that higher compensation or lower managerial ownership are associated with worse net-of-fee performance, in stark contrast to other asset management settings. Instead, compensation is largely unrelated to net cash flow performance. Our evidence is most consistent with an equilibrium in which compensation terms reflect agency concerns and the productivity of manager skills, and in which managers with higher compensation earn back their pay by delivering higher gross performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Robinson, David T. & Sensoy, Berk A., 2011. "Do Private Equity Fund Managers Earn Their Fees? Compensation, Ownership, and Cash Flow Performance," Working Paper Series 2011-14, Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:ohidic:2011-14
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Degeorge, Francois & Martin, Jens & Phalippou, Ludovic, 2016. "On secondary buyouts," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(1), pages 124-145.
    2. Gompers, Paul & Kaplan, Steven N. & Mukharlyamov, Vladimir, 2016. "What do private equity firms say they do?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(3), pages 449-476.
    3. Arcot, Sridhar & Fluck, Zsuzsanna & Gaspar, José-Miguel & Hege, Ulrich, 2015. "Fund managers under pressure: Rationale and determinants of secondary buyouts," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 102-135.
    4. David T. Robinson & Berk A. Sensoy, 2011. "Cyclicality, Performance Measurement, and Cash Flow Liquidity in Private Equity," NBER Working Papers 17428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Broeders, Dirk W.G.A. & van Oord, Arco & Rijsbergen, David R., 2016. "Scale economies in pension fund investments: A dissection of investment costs across asset classes," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 147-171.
    6. Robinson, David T. & Sensoy, Berk A., 2016. "Cyclicality, performance measurement, and cash flow liquidity in private equity," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 122(3), pages 521-543.
    7. repec:eee:corfin:v:46:y:2017:i:c:p:342-360 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Marko Rikato & Ales Berk, 2015. "Costliness of Placement Agents," Journal of Financial Services Research, Springer;Western Finance Association, vol. 48(3), pages 263-287, December.
    9. repec:eee:jbfina:v:80:y:2017:i:c:p:14-32 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. William Gornall & Ilya A. Strebulaev, 2017. "Squaring Venture Capital Valuations with Reality," NBER Working Papers 23895, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. repec:eee:corfin:v:47:y:2017:i:c:p:110-130 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Paul Gompers & Steven N. Kaplan & Vladimir Mukharlyamov, 2015. "What Do Private Equity Firms Say They Do?," NBER Working Papers 21133, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Gregory W. Brown & Oleg R. Gredil & Steven N. Kaplan, 2016. "Do Private Equity Funds Manipulate Reported Returns?," NBER Working Papers 22493, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. repec:eee:jbvent:v:32:y:2017:i:5:p:519-535 is not listed on IDEAS

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